With the WLAN connection of Windows 11, Microsoft relies on continuity with the predecessor. Nevertheless, there are many small improvements, for example when changing the WLAN and the wireless network settings: They make Windows 11 a better WLAN operating system.
Windows 11’s WiFi settings are a little different from Windows 10.
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Whether at home, at work or on the go: Windows 11 is quickly integrated into a wireless network. Microsoft’s new operating system detects not only current but also almost all older WLAN adapters and sets them up for operation during installation. If you would like to establish a connection to a wireless network, click on the new icon group with the loudspeaker in the lower right corner of the taskbar. The quick settings window will appear. If there is at least one WLAN within range, it should read “available” in the top left under the WLAN button. If this is not the case for you, you still have to switch on the WLAN function. To do this, click on the left half of the button.
This is new in the network with Windows 11
Windows 11 has a built-in WLAN rocker switch (picture on the left). Left clicking (de) activates the WLAN, clicking right shows all wireless networks within range (middle). A click on the round “i” button takes you to the connection properties (right).
The right half of the WLAN button consists of an arrow pointing to the right – click on it. Windows 11 displays the list of all wireless networks found. Click the name of the wireless network you want. Windows 11 activates the option “Connect automatically” by default when the WLAN is within range. This automatic registration is useful at home or in the office, but if you borrow the neighbour’s wireless network from time to time, it is better to remove the check mark in front of “Connect automatically”.
Go to “Connect”, enter the WiFi password and confirm with “Next”. Your computer is now online.
If you cannot find the WLAN you want in the list of wireless networks, you are either too far away or the WLAN is set up to hide its name. You can connect hidden WLANs in the Settings app under “Network & Internet -› WLAN – ›Manage known networks -› Add network ”.
In the “Manage known networks” dialog, Windows 11 collects all wireless networks including passwords to which the PC was already logged in in the past. Especially with mobile users who frequently work with changing wireless networks, a large number of entries quickly accumulates, including those that you will probably never use again. You can remove superfluous networks by clicking on “Do not save”.
If you would like to keep a certain WLAN in the list, but prevent your computer from automatically connecting, click on the entry and remove the check mark in front of “Connect automatically when in range”. To connect manually, click on the icon group with the loudspeaker in the task bar at the bottom right and on the relevant WLAN.
Adjust WLAN profile
Good overview: Windows 11 remembers all WLANs in the Settings app under “Manage known networks”. Here you block the automatic connection within range or delete networks with “Do not save”.
Information on the type of your WLAN connection, the active radio data encryption, the currently used frequency range and the radio channel can be viewed by clicking on “Network & Internet -› WLAN – ›Hardware properties”. This also includes your IP and DNS address, the MAC ID and other information about the network adapter.
Windows 11 also provides the same information in the menu item “Network & Internet -› WLAN ”after clicking on the name of the WLAN connection. There are two differences: In the dialog that is displayed, the automatic connection establishment can be controlled at the very top – as well as elsewhere in the WLAN settings. More important: directly below you adjust the network profile.
Windows 11 assigns the network profile “Public” to every new WLAN connection. This means that certain protective measures apply to your computer, which are particularly useful when surfing via public Internet access in hotels, cafés or train stations: the laptop or desktop PC is not visible to other devices in the wireless network and file sharing is prevented by Windows 11. The Windows 11 firewall also uses stricter rules to control data traffic with the “Public” network profile.
If you use your computer in a trustworthy network, for example in your home WLAN or the wireless network of your employer, you should switch the network profile to “private”. To do this, you must be logged on to Windows 11 with a user account that has administrator rights. Then it is sufficient to click on the “Private” option. The blue marking in front of “Public (recommended)” disappears and moves to “Private”. There is no additional confirmation – you can simply close the dialog.
WLAN without a random MAC address
In Windows 11 we missed the point “Use random addresses for this network”. By sending changing MAC addresses, it prevents the user from being tracked and thus tracked when connecting via public hotspots. It remains to be hoped that Microsoft will add this option via an online update.
Try Windows 11 Beta yourself – this is how it works